TACLOBAN City, Jan. 4, 2016— A parish church here was among the first responders to the needs of dozens of families displaced by fire on New Year’s eve.
The fire, which broke out past 12 midnight, damaged 70 houses and left around 95 families homeless in Brgy. 56 Pericohon, a densely populated village.
Many of the victims, some of whom are children, took shelter at the nearby Redemptorist Church and the others at the Tacloban at the Tacloban City Astrodome, some three kilometers away from the fire site.
This village was among the coastal villages deluged by storm surge when super typhoon Yolanda struck the city in 2013 and badly hit by typhoon Ruby in 2014.
Huge fire also occurred in the same community on Election Day in 2013 and before the city fiesta in 2014.
Fr. Constantino Puzon, parochial vicar of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, said the victims were immediately accommodated at the parish’s St. Gerard Pastoral Center.
Aside from food, he said they also distributed non-food items such as cooking utensils, basins and pails.
Palo Archbishop John Du also visited the temporary evacuation center and provided relief goods and other basic needs to the victims.
“Knowing the bishop, he really has the heart for fire victims. Just our mere presence and the presence of the bishop help uplift the spirit of the fire victims,” Puzon said.
The parishes of Sto. Niño Parish and San Jose also provided aid to the fire evacuees, he said.
Local authorities have yet to determine the cause of the fire suspected to have been caused by a firecracker. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCP News)